To update those of you with whom I’m not Facebook friends (my FB friends are already WELL AWARE, given that I dominated many of their feeds Wednesday night), I indeed watched the second Republican debate.
Unlike my giddy reaction to the first debate, this one left me feeling kind of deflated.
Mostly because I’m just so tired of this Donald Trump thing – can’t we please get some folks to drop out of the race (thank you, Rick Perry!) so the not-Trump vote isn’t divided fifteen ways?
I would love to see the Republican field coalesce into four or five distinct choices so that the campaign (and future debates!) can become more productive and informative.
I also think that CNN did a terrible job of hosting the debate. For one thing – three hours? Why in the world did it need to last that long and how in the world did it not manage to cover more matters of substance given that it was so. flipping. long?!
For another thing, what the heck were they thinking, taking up time with stupid fluff questions on what candidates’ secret service code names should be and who should be on the $10 bill?
And most of all, why did they even bother having moderators? With all the “moderation” those people provided, they might as well have flashed big signs to the candidates instead:
So overall, yes, I think the thing was a mess. An embarrassing, mostly unhelpful mess. I’m not against candidates challenging each other during debates – I think a healthy back-and-forth can be informative. But that’s not what we got Wednesday night. We got too many candidates on a stage for too long, where they were too often prodded into the presidential campaign version of a cockfight.
But it wasn’t entirely unhelpful.
I do think it served to clarify a few of the candidates somewhat. Carly Fiorina, who pretty much stole the show, came across as poised, competent, smart, and strong. Marco Rubio, who stayed so much above the fray that you could hardly tell he was there for half the debate, cemented his respectable (even presidential) image with some well-executed policy talk. John Kasich helped us to remember compassionate conservatism. Chris Christie firmed up his middle-class, regular-guy image.
Jeb Bush recovered a tad from his poor performance at the first debate, proving himself a little more energetic than we’d thought, but still just as much of a standard (boring?) establishment figure as we knew him to be — except maybe for his (Compassionate! Thank you, Jeb!) talk on immigration and his (pretty amusing) confession that he smoked pot as a teenager.
Ted Cruz and Scott Walker tried hard, but I think they’re competing for much the same constituency as Donald Trump and as far as I’m concerned, that ship has sailed, guys.
I hardly noticed Rand Paul at the debate – but maybe that’s just me. And I tend not to pay much attention to Mike Huckabee. (I’m sorry – my fault – I just see him as entirely unelectable, so I turn my attention elsewhere.)
I think neither of the two frontrunners going into the debate – Donald Trump and Ben Carson – gained anything by their performance there. They were who they are – one bombastic and ignorant, the other gentle and ignorant (sorry, friends-who-love-Carson). But I doubt either disappointed their supporters: They turned in the performances expected of them. I just don’t think they’re likely to grow their share of support more than they already have. They’ve peaked. (There – I said it. Feel free to call me wrong should/when the poll numbers prove me so.)
So like I said, while the first debate left me energized and excited about the official kick-off of the presidential campaign season, this one left me feeling deflated – almost weary of the whole thing already.
I sure hope some of the Republican candidates drop out soon – I’m ready for this thing to move on to its next stage.
I’ve got to end on a better note than that.
Wednesday night, because the debate started at 8pm Eastern, my boys weren’t yet in bed. They were in their pajamas, waiting for bedtime stories because Daddy was busy putting the baby down. (I’d made a desperate plea for him to do all of bedtime because I! had! to! watch! this! debate!)
They were initially very unhappy with my choice of television channels, but then seemed sort of interested in the idea that those people up there all wanted to be president.
“I want to be the president when I grow up!” said the oldest.
“I want to be a baker,” said the younger.
I think I’d worry more about following the first path than the second.
Have a great weekend, everyone! Please stop over to Kelly’s to check out the other Friday Quick Takes.